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08.06.10

Links 6/8/2010: GNU/Linux Still in Sub-notebooks, Oracle’s Eclipse Plug-in

Posted in News Roundup at 6:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • IT in the 21st Century

    I encountered a case of IT staff not knowing about GNU/Linux last year. I received a CD that would have been useful on our local web server. However, the file-names all over the CD were in random case. In some places file-names were all lower case, or all upper case or even mixed for the same file. I ended up editing dozens of index-files to use the identical name in all instances. This took hours of work. I e-mailed the distributor my changes. They had no clue that these things matter. Since they wanted their stuff to work in all schools, they thanked me for my input. Similarly, Manitoba Education uses a database that runs MySQL and Java but will not work on GNU/Linux. Can we say “hard-coded C:\paths”, boys and girls? How much pain does using open standards and rendering them non-open cause? Lots.

  • Desktop

    • Pondering the Potential of the $200 Linux PC

      There must be something about the US$200 price point — for the second time this summer, Linux bloggers have been pondering the notion of a $200 computer.

      Back in June, it was Phil Shapiro who kicked off the conversation by demonstrating how to configure an Ubuntu machine for less than $200.

    • Shopping With Lenovo

      When I clicked on “Help me decide” next to choice of OS, “Linux” appeared as a tab. I could see the merits of the versions of that other OS but was overjoyed with this information when I clicked on “Linux”:
      “While all ThinkPad notebooks and ThinkCentre desktops will ship with an operating system, ThinkStation workstations may be ordered without a preloaded operating system for users preferring an open-source solution.”

      OK! I took a look at ThinkStations… and there is a similar model for $60 more with a more powerful processor and a second drive bay. They also have thin clients as a choice under workstations but they are about the same price as these low-end desktops.

      How different is that experience compared to Dell because Dell isolate everything. Of course, Lenovo could do better. They could offer no OS etc. for all their PCs…

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 2.31.6 Release Arrives GTK3-Free

        Vincent Untz has just announced the release of GNOME 2.31.6, which is the first development snapshot of GNOME 2.32 following the announcement last week that GNOME 3.0 is delayed until March 2011. With the 2.32 release not being the 3.0 milestone, the 2.32 release will continue to use GTK+2 rather than the still-in-development GTK+3.

        Most of the GNOME packages have retained GTK+2 API support while adding in the GTK+3 capabilities and can be configured to use either tool-kit version at build-time. However, a few GNOME packages didn’t keep the GTK+2 support around, so for this GNOME 2.31.6 release some packages needed to be reverted to their 2.30 state so that this would be a GTK+3-free release. By the GNOME 2.32 beta, however, these packages should be fixed to work with either GTK+ version.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • 3 Aug 2010

        Here are my rough notes from DebConf 10. Nothing should be taken as a direct quote of the speaker who is supposedly associated with the talk as my own thoughts are interwoven with their points, the person switches around between they and I and we all the time… I made them for my own reference and publish them in the hope you might find them interesting but they must not be relied on. Happy hacking :P

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint 9 KDE (Isadora)

            Summary: Linux Mint 9 KDE is Kubuntu as it should have been. This release adds new applications, a new software manager and so much more. It’s well worth a download for anybody interested in using KDE as his or her desktop environment.
            Rating: 4.5/5

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Jolicloud 1.0 Review (Ubuntu Based Netbook OS)

        Jolicloud 1.0 is now available for all so I decided to install it on my netbook (Asus EeePC 1005 HA) and write a review for the WebUpd8 readers while waiting for the best netbook Linux distribution to be out – no, not Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 but Aurora.

      • Building a better netbook

        So, what could improve on this situation? I think you know where I’m going with this … yep, good ol’ free and open source Linux, and specifically Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) Netbook Edition.

        Ubuntu Netbook Edition uses the GNOME window manager with the most excellent custom Ubuntu Netbook Edition interface and includes pretty much every application you might want on a general purpose, portable system.

        But here’s what makes Ubuntu Netbook Edition so great: It is ridiculously easy to install and knows about a huge range of peripherals; it’s easy to configure; it isn’t a resource hog; and it runs really, really fast even on the 1.66GHz Atom N450.

        I downloaded UNE, installed it onto a 4GB USB drive ($10 from Fry’s!) using the Universal USB Installer, stuck the USB drive in the NB30, restarted the NB30, went into the BIOS set up and moved the USB drive above the HDD, told the BIOS utility to save the configuration, and, voila! The whole process (other than the download) took minutes and, on reboot, Ubuntu Netbook Edition was up and running in seconds.

      • Netbooks Escape Monopoly

        Mainstream netbook makers like Acer are down to $199. If they want to keep up volume and increase margins they will have to skip that other OS soon.

      • Techville: Wireless Windows Woes

        I put together a bootable flash drive with Ubuntu 10.04 on it and a 1 GB persistence file, and booted to it. I installed the Broadcom STA Wireless driver and rebooted. Thanks to the persistence file, the driver remained intact upon second boot, and I immediately had access to four wireless networks. For those not counting, that’s two more than every other PC in the room saw. And for those wondering, both boots and the driver install took less time than it took to boot the native Windows image once.

        Thanks to Ubuntu, my netbook runs faster and more stably than anybody else’s in the office, and the hacker in me is satisfied without my ever having to hack anything. I realize, too, that Ubuntu isn’t exactly a lightweight distro, and that Puppy (yes, I know it’s really Ubuntu) or Knoppix or even a custom-built Slackware would almost certainly run faster and more stably. But considering the convenience factor of getting Ubuntu installed (20-30 minutes), its built-in support for encrypted file systems (a mandate for these netbooks), and its overall great appearance and performance, it’s probably the best distro for this netbook at the moment.

      • Acer announces a dual boot netbook

        The Aspire One AOD255, first shown at this year’s Computex, will feature Google’s Chrome operating system along with Microsoft’s Windows XP.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Wave

    • Google Wave code could live on in future open source projects

      There may be enough code out there already for ambitious developers to pick up where Google left off. While it’s easy to think Google’s failure indicates that it’s unlikely anyone else will succeed, Trapani notes that many successful open source projects are based on abandoned projects and forks.

    • The triumph of document layout and the demise of Google Wave

      I am frequently overly enamoured of the idea of where we might get to, forgetting that there are a lot of people still getting used to where we’ve been. I was forcibly reminded of this by Carole Goble on the weekend when I expressed a dislike of the Utopia PDF viewer that enables active figures and semantic markup of the PDFs of scientific papers.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle releases an Eclipse plug-in

      FULL SERVICE IT VENDOR Oracle has released a set of free plug-ins to help developers use Eclipse to code for Java Enterprise Edition 6.

      The Oracle Enterprise Pack supports the popular Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE). The company is also promoting several new features, including improved debugging for Weblogic Script Tool scripts, visualisation of MBeans and syntax highlighting for Python.

  • Education

    • Time for school IT to teach Open Source

      If you live in a world of daily technology use, rapidly changing online services, social networking, instant messaging and an explosion of new devices, new form factors and new platforms the ‘essential skill’ of creating a Microsoft Access database or writing an essay in Microsoft Word will seem as interesting and relevant to you as learing to drive a horse and cart to the owner of a Ferrari… that is, not much.

      The schoolchildren’s response is not only understandable, it shows intelligence and realism way beyond those who have chosen this set of historical anachronisms to teach them.

      Everything interesting happening in Information technology is driven by Open Source, enabled by Open Source, or contains a big chunk of Open Source.

      You think I exaggerate? not at all… Open Source is the technology of choice behind everything of interest in the online world, and social networking sites are jam-packed with OSS old favourites (and not just LAMP stacks) and sparkling new ones. Cloud and SaaS? even conservative firms like Gartner will tell you these are up to 90% composed of Open

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Free Access to U.S. Research Papers Could Yield $1 Billion in Benefits

        A new economic analysis finds that making taxpayer-funded scientific papers freely available would yield more than $1 billion in benefits to the U.S. economy over 30 years—five times the costs of archiving the papers.

        A team led by John Houghton, an economist at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, examined the potential payoff of expanding a National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy requiring grantees to post their peer-reviewed manuscripts in a free database after a delay. A proposal in Congress would extend the policy to 11 more research agencies and shorten NIH’s 12-month delay to 6 months. Supporters say taxpayers should have free access to the results of research they paid for; publishers worry that they will be put out of business.

      • Five Reasons to Keep NoSQL on Your Radar

        Whether you are a fan of NoSQL, cynical of its merits, or just curious about its development goodies, there’s no escaping the presence and growth of NoSQL. In the next 18 months, at least half of all new websites will use NoSQL databases, reports GigaOM Pro Research.

Leftovers

  • Massive Censorship Of Digg Uncovered

    A group of influential conservative members of the behemoth social media site Digg.com have just been caught red-handed in a widespread campaign of censorship, having multiple accounts, upvote padding, and deliberately trying to ban progressives. An undercover investigation has exposed this effort, which has been in action for more than one year.

  • Steve Furber: why kids are turned off computing

    One of the UK’s tech leaders believes students are staying away from computing classes because they teach nothing but the boring basics.

    Professor Steve Furber – the legendary Acorn and ARM processor designer – is working with the Royal Society to figure out why the number of students taking A-Level computing classes has halved in the past eight years, and why students who love technology aren’t signing up to study the subject.

  • UFO files: Winston Churchill ‘feared panic’ over Second World War RAF incident

    The claims are contained in thousands of pages of declassified files on UFOs, released on Thursday online by the National Archives.

    The 18 files, which cover from 1995 to 2003, are made up of more than 5,000 pages of reports, letters, and drawings drawn from correspondence with the public and questions raised in parliament.

    [...]

    Dr David Clarke, author of The UFO files and Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Sheffield Hallam University, said the “fascinating” files showed the level of concern about such “bizarre incidents” during the war.

  • Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse. That’s the standard line motorists hear when they say they weren’t aware of the speed limit, or gun owners hear when they say didn’t know about the gun laws in the jurisdiction they happened to get arrested in. Yet that ignorance is pretty understandable in an America where just about everything is being criminalized. At the federal level alone there are now more than 4,500 separate crimes, and that’s not counting the massive regulatory code, violations of which also can sometimes be punished with criminal charges.

  • Go Daddy Sued for $100 Mil for Aiding MJ Casino

    A $100 million war has erupted over the unauthorized Michael Jackson online casino — and now GoDaddy.com could be on the hook for allowing the casino owner to register the site with them.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Judge Napolitano: The Plain Truth – The Government Lies to You!! Freedom Watch 7/31/2010
    • Yes, Afghanistan is Vietnam

      With public opposition to the Afghan war growing, the US needs to rethink policy over politically schizophrenic ally Pakistan.

    • NATO acknowledges civilian deaths in Afghan clash
    • Pentagon Demands WikiLeaks Return All Documents

      The U.S. Defense Department demanded WikiLeaks return secret military reports from Afghanistan leaked to the website and purge all copies from their records, including tens of thousands of reports already publicly posted.

      “We want whatever they have returned to us and we want whatever copies they have expunged,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters today at a news briefing.

    • Wikileaks vs the Pentagon:Phony Fingerpointing

      Consider the following statement offered by Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a news conference last week. He was discussing Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks as well as the person who has taken responsibility for the vast, still ongoing Afghan War document dump at that site. “Mr. Assange,” Mullen commented, “can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family.”

    • Chasing WikiLeaks

      Marc Thiessen draws upon my article in The New Yorker to make his case against Julian Assange, the editor of WikiLeaks, and to argue that American “military assets” could be used “to bring Assange to justice.” Using the military for this purpose would be a terrible idea. WikiLeaks may not be a conventional news organization, but it is not “a criminal syndicate,” as Thiessen asserts, and the notion that the Defense Department should go about destroying privately run Web sites (with infrastructure in friendly countries), because of what those sites publish, suggests a gross misuse of military force. Rather than treating WikiLeaks like a terrorist cell, the military is better off accepting that the Web site is a product of the modern information age, and that it is here to stay, in some form or another, no matter who is running it.

    • The Trouble With Unconstitutional Wars

      Many are saying that the Wikileaks documents tell us nothing new. In some ways this is true. Most Americans knew that we have been fighting losing battles. These documents show just how bad it really is. The revelation that Pakistani intelligence is assisting the people we are bombing in Afghanistan shows the quality of friends we are making with our foreign policy. This kind of thing supports points that Rep. Dennis Kucinich and I tried to make on the House floor last week with a privileged resolution that would have directed the administration to remove troops from Pakistan pursuant to the War Powers Resolution.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Gulf oil spill: White House accused of spinning report

      The White House was accused today of spinning a government scientific report into the amount of oil left in the Gulf of Mexico from the BP spill which had officials declaring that the vast majority of the oil had been removed.

  • Finance

    • Crop Circle of the Day – Quote Stuffing and Strange Sequences

      In our original Flash Crash Analysis report, we dedicated a section to an observed phenomena we termed “Quote Stuffing”, in which bursts of quotes (at very high rates) with extremely unusual characteristics were observed.

      As we continue to monitor the markets for evidence of Quote Stuffing and Strange Sequences (Crop Circles), we find that there are dozens if not hundreds of examples to choose from on any given day. As such, this page will be updated often with charts demonstrating this activity.

    • FT: The High Frequency Trading Scam

      No. The disadvantage was not speed. The disadvantage was that the “algos” had engaged in something other than what their claimed purpose is in the marketplace – that is, instead of providing liquidity, they intentionally probed the market with tiny orders that were immediately canceled in a scheme to gain an illegal view into the other side’s willingness to pay.

      Let me explain.

      Let’s say that there is a buyer willing to buy 100,000 shares of BRCM with a limit price of $26.40. That is, the buyer will accept any price up to $26.40.

      But the market at this particular moment in time is at $26.10, or thirty cents lower.

      So the computers, having detected via their “flash orders” (which ought to be illegal) that there is a desire for Broadcom shares, start to issue tiny (typically 100 share lots) “immediate or cancel” orders – IOCs – to sell at $26.20. If that order is “eaten” the computer then issues an order at $26.25, then $26.30, then $26.35, then $26.40. When it tries $26.45 it gets no bite and the order is immediately canceled.

    • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, but with money: another look at HFT

      But just because the markets are electronic doesn’t mean you can’t take a picture of them. Market analysis firm Nanex has produced some very compelling visualizations of the type of sub-second trading that goes on in our electronic exchanges. A number of the pictures are from BATS—a fully electronic exchange that consists of a bank of computers in Jersey City—but others cross multiple exchanges.

      Nanex’s visualizations page contains an ongoing catalog of the traces that stock-trading bots leave in the market, as they move individual symbols up and down in price thousands of times per second. The obvious, repetitive, algorithmically generated patterns produced will be familiar to any physicist or electrical engineer—the stock market is a now a networked collection of high-frequency oscillators and feedback loops of varying sizes, where computers cycle stock prices by the millisecond.

    • Capitalists of Chaos and Catastrophe

      US small business sentiment is down. Consumer income is down. Consumer spending is down. Pending home sales are down. Worldwide, crops are threatened by drought and floods. And while some claim that a US bumper crop will ease the problems, American corn is not exactly a perfect substitute for Russian and Ukrainian wheat, which go a long way towards feeding extensive segments of Middle East and Northern African populations.

      [...]

      Needless to say, if you’re speculating on food commodities like wheat, whether it be through Commodity ETF’s or elsewhere, and you fancy yourself to be a Capitalist of Chaos, what’s not to like about failed crops and rising price uncertainties? You can corner markets, the way cocoa honcho Anthony Ward has, you can sell derivative instruments to pension- and market fund managers chasing yield without sufficient savvy, and at the end of the day, you can be filthy rich. Just don’t feel too bad about the hungry, starving and dying, or about those who see their pensions and other savings vanish. Hey, if you didn’t do it, someone else would, right?

      The biggest irony in all of it, of course, remains that the biggest players in these ultimate dog eat dog Darwinian capitalist schemes use US and EU taxpayer money to play the games. They wouldn’t be here anymore, sitting at their crap tables, if you wouldn’t have handed them the money to play their ultimate to-the-death fighting games with. If nothing else, it seems to be a fitting end to yet another economic system doomed by a lack of morals.

    • The Treasury’s Worrisome Position

      Former Secretary of State George Shultz famously quipped about Washington: “Nothing ever gets settled in this town. You have to keep fighting, every inch of the way.” This is proving just as true for banking reform as for other aspects of American government policy.

      For example, Senators Carl Levin of Michigan and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, after considerable effort, were able to place strong language in the Dodd-Frank financial-sector legislation — enacting a version of the “Volcker Rule” that would require big banks to become significantly less risky. While this idea originated with Paul Volcker, the former Fed chairman and senior adviser to President Obama, and was announced with great fanfare by the president himself in January, it was clear – from the beginning and throughout the detailed negotiations this spring – that the Treasury Department was less than fully enthusiastic about this approach.

    • Geithner: Let Bush tax cuts expire
    • The Treasury Position – On The Volcker Rule

      Amazingly, Mr. Geithner made no reference to the Volcker Rule, either explicitly or even implicitly – despite the centrality of this idea to the recent debate. It appears to be nowhere at all in his list of priorities (or on the “to do” list of Michael Barr, the responsible Assistant Secretary, who gave a follow-up speech on Wednesday). He is apparently signaling to all the regulators involved that this is not a top priority for the administration and – presumably – they should toe this line if they would like to be reappointed. Treasury carries great weight on these issues, even with nominally independent regulators, and in the Treasury interpretation big banks would be allowed to rearrange their activities so they can still effectively take big risks – earning big returns in good times and creating major problems for the rest of us when the cycle next turns down.

    • Let Them Eat Wedding Cake

      The world has not witnessed such total failure of government since the final days of the Roman Empire. A handful of American oligarchs are becoming mega-billionaires while the rest of the country goes down the drain.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Police chief sues AT&T for giving wife phone records

      The police chief for Industry filed a lawsuit against AT&T Mobility recently, claiming the company improperly released his cell phone records to his wife.

      Garold Ray Miller filed the claim for invasion of privacy in Beaver County last month, but it was moved to federal court on Tuesday.

    • Digital Privacy: If You’ve Done Nothing Wrong, Do You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’?

      A few years back, I did a long newspaper story about the FBI snooping on the private records of ordinary citizens. As my old editor Michael Kinsley likes to say, the scandal is what’s legal. The Patriot Act unleashed the FBI to search your email, travel and credit records without even a suspicion of wrongdoing. The FBI was doing it, in secret, tens of thousands of times a year.

      As I dug into the story, government officials kept telling me that law-abiding Americans have nothing to fear. Why object to surveillance if you have nothing to hide? Joseph Billy Jr., a top FBI supervisor for whom I had great respect, told me, “I’ve had people say, you know, ‘Hey, I don’t care, I’ve done nothing to be concerned about. You can have me in your files and that’s that.’ Some people take that approach.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net Neutrality Brawl: FCC Is Not Happy with Google and Verizon

      The Google-Verizon net neutrality saga has taken yet another strange turn as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ended closed-door talks with several companies over the future of net neutrality and has lashed out against the practice of paying for faster transmission of data over the Internet.

      [...]

      The entire affair has blown up into a PR nightmare. Google and Verizon have both denied they are attempting to end net neutrality, but they have confirmed that they are talking to one another. It seems as if the two are trying to define net neutrality through an agreement and model their definition as a standard for the industry.

    • Google and Verizon Near Deal on Web Pay Tiers
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Local arts and wisdom protected

      The Culture Ministry will add 25 traditional arts, wisdom and folklore as well as muay thai to its national intellectual copyright protection list.

    • My Dough Girl In Trademark Trouble With Pillsbury

      My Dough Girl’s menu features perky and pretty cartoon women in the style of 1950s pin-up girls. Each, like yellow-bikini-clad Betty—who has an oatmeal cookie with apricots and cherries named after her—are namesakes and mascots of various cookies. The menu doesn’t feature mascots actually made of dough such as the pudgy Pillsbury Dough Boy, but nevertheless, Dough Boy-trademark owner General Mills is demanding the locally owned cookie shop come up with a new name.

    • Copyrights

      • Der Spiegel

        You may recall that Eckhard Höffner has been examining the history of copyright in Germany – finding that in its absence there was an explosion of knowledge – that due to the late enforcement of copyright in Germany, Germany emerged from a poor agricultural country in 1800 to the leading science nation in 1900. The German media being more advanced than the U.S. media Der Spiegel,the preeminant German weekly news magazine with a print run of about 1 million, and one of the most widely circulated magazines in Europe has picked up the story.

      • Why World War I Recordings Won’t Enter The Public Domain Until 2049

        That seems like an important paragraph to show to folks who insist that copyright on sound recordings must obviously be covered by copyright and/or that it’s a “natural right” to include sound recordings under copyright. Clearly, even Congress felt it was likely to be unconstitutional for quite some time.

      • ASCAP Continues Propaganda Campaign With Laughably Bad Video [Updated]

        While ASCAP is apparently too busy to debate Larry Lessig, they aren’t too busy to produce silly and ridiculous propaganda. ASCAP member Damian Sol notes that he recently received an email from ASCAP asking him to “spread the word” about ASCAP’s new propaganda video that compares getting songwriters paid for music to getting chickens and cows paid for their eggs and milk. Seriously. I’d embed it here, but the technologically savvy folks at ASCAP are apparently too clueless to figure out how to include an embed on a video they claim they want people to “share.”

      • Law journal can publish information from court file

        A D.C. Superior Court judge abruptly lifted a temporary restraining order on Friday that had barred a legal journal from printing information it obtained from a court file, ending a dispute that legal observers said was destined to become one of the biggest First Amendment cases in years.

        The battle began when a reporter from the National Law Journal was investigating a story about money owed to a District law firm by POM Wonderful, a health juice manufacturer.

      • Copyright Getting In The Way Of Historical Realism On Mad Men [Updated]
      • UK Music Biz Kept Growing Before The Digital Economy Act; So Why Was It Needed?

        The report does spend some time noting that there are some significant differences in the US and UK markets, so it probably doesn’t make sense to directly extrapolate out the results. However, this certainly does call into serious question the reasoning of BPI and others for the Digital Economy Act. What it shows, quite clearly, is that the industry was doing a very good job adapting on its own. It even makes you wonder if the BPI/IFPI/RIAA lobbyists are actually upset about this report, which sort of takes away the entire crux of their “help us politicians, you’re our only hope” claim.

Clip of the Day

Richard M. Stallman Speech for Curitiba Event 2003


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  26. Speaking Truth to Monopolies (or How to Write Guest Posts in Techrights)

    We need to have more articles tackling the passage of all power — especially when it comes to software — to few large monopolies that disregard human rights or actively participate in their abolishment in the digital realm



  27. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Free as in Speech

    "While a new breed of so-called anarchists campaign against expression that even the state allows, people are also foolishly overplaying the relevance of the state to free speech issues -- as if it's not a freedom issue when a project is increasingly thought-policed, because the thought-policing isn't on a state level."



  28. Toxic Culture at Microsoft

    Racism, intolerance, sexism and bullying are rampant at Microsoft; but Microsoft would rather deflect/divert/sidetrack to Google and so-called 'GAFA'



  29. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Introduction

    "The FSF isn't just threatened, it will hit a large iceberg in the future that changes it permanently."



  30. Linux Journal and Linux.com Should Have Been Kept Going

    There's apparently no good explanation for the effective shutdown of Linux Journal and Linux.com; London Trust Media Holdings (LTMH), owner of Linux Journal, saw numbers improving and the Linux Foundation, steward of Linux.com, is loaded with money


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